Getting Proven Support for Cannabis and Psychosis at Catalina
Cannabis use is relatively common in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control, roughly 48 million people have used marijuana which accounts for about 18 percent of the population.
Of those 48 million people, three in ten will struggle with marijuana use disorder and may require help with early withdrawal symptoms, including marijuana withdrawal psychosis.
If you or someone you love is struggling to quit cannabis use, you are not alone, and this article is a great starting point for getting support.
Catalina Behavioral Health is experienced in the symptoms that accompany the cessation of cannabis use, including more extreme symptoms like psychosis. If you are worried about your psychosis risk in the early days of your sobriety, we can help ensure you have a safe place to detox.
Keep reading to learn more, and reach out to us today to learn more about our comprehensive treatment programs.
What is Marijuana Withdrawal Psychosis?
If you are going through cannabis withdrawal, you may want to know the risks associated with this change in your substance use habits. One of the most concerning cannabis withdrawal symptoms includes the possibility of psychotic symptoms. What exactly is marijuana withdrawal psychosis and how should it be handled?
New studies are showing that marijuana use could signal the development of psychotic disorders, namely schizophrenia. This study had a remarkable statistic: those who tried marijuana before the age of 18 were 2.4 times more likely to develop schizophrenia later in life.
This proves that there can be a connection between cannabis use and mental illness in some instances, and alludes to the issues that can arise when stopping as well.
Psychotic Symptoms of Cannabis Withdrawal
Concern over cannabis withdrawal is serious as psychotic symptoms can present themselves early on. Some of these symptoms include:
- Dissociation (a disconnect from reality, feelings, experiences, etc.)
- Delusions or paranoia
- Hallucinations of physical sensations, occurrences, and experiences that do not really exist
- Irrational fear or increased anxiety levels
- Extreme mood swings
Another issue that often contributes to cannabis withdrawal syndrome is sleep disturbances. Many people use marijuana to help them unwind and drift off to sleep. When the drug is no longer in their system, they may find it harder to sleep. Too much time without sleep can lead to psychosis as well.
Psychosis Does Not Always Equal Mental Disorders
You may struggle with some of these withdrawal symptoms even if you do not end up diagnosed with psychotic disorders. Psychotic symptoms can present during cannabis withdrawal syndrome without necessarily indicating that an individual has a mental illness of any kind.
It is important to be under the care of a medical team that understands the intricacies associated with cannabis use and associated psychotic symptoms. Sometimes, first-episode psychosis can surface in the aftermath of too much THC and could indicate a larger problem. It is difficult to determine if the issue will be ongoing without proper monitoring.
Why Does Cannabis Withdrawal Cause Psychosis?
The exact mechanism of the connection between cannabis withdrawal symptoms and psychotic symptoms is not entirely clear, known, or understood. Instead, researchers are digging deep into connections between psychotic disorders and the use of marijuana.
One of the main pathways through which psychosis risk presents itself is via high intake of THC levels when consuming marijuana. If you consume extraordinarily high-potency cannabis, you might actually be consuming more THC than usual. These elevated THC levels can lead to a break with reality and the appearance of psychotic symptoms.
It is important to note that studies are proving that discontinuation of cannabis after psychosis often relieves the symptoms. People who quit cannabis after these symptoms first surface often avoid a relapse of symptoms associated with cannabis withdrawal symptoms.
In fact, a high percentage of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia (based on criteria set out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual used for diagnosis) also use marijuana as a means of self-medicating.
An incredible 13 percent of ongoing schizophrenia cases could be avoided if cannabis use were discontinued.
These statistics make clear that if you or a loved one are struggling with cannabis and mental health, reaching out for evidence-based treatment options at Catalina can be truly life-altering.
Acute Cannabis Withdrawal Symptoms
Oftentimes, the marijuana withdrawal symptoms that surface when the substance is first leaving the body are referred to as acute symptoms. They can have a rather sudden onset and will be present in the early hours or days of your marijuana withdrawal. However, they also tend to fade just as quickly as they arrived.
This is good news for those who struggle with cannabis-induced psychosis. In many cases, people who struggle with this side effect while getting sober can simply sleep it off. Once you have a good night of rest, psychosis might disappear completely and never surface again if you refrain from more cannabis intake.
Keep in mind that THC stays in the body for an extended period of time (up to one month). If you have a harder time abstaining from a marijuana addiction, you are at a greater risk of psychosis happening to you once more. Especially if you are using high-potency cannabis, it can compound in your system to lead to a psychotic disorder diagnosis.
What are the Other Side Effects of Cannabis Withdrawal?
While psychosis is often the most severe symptom of cannabis use, it is not the only psychological symptom you should be concerned with. Especially if you use marijuana and cannabis to mitigate uncomfortable mental health disorders like anxiety, you may see them resurface after substance use ends.
It is common to see anxiety and depressive symptoms increase in the aftermath of cannabis cessation.
Other symptoms of cannabis withdrawal syndrome can include:
- Restlessness or agitation
- Severe headaches
- Sleep disturbance (mostly insomnia)
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach pain, nausea, and digestive upset
- Sleepiness or fatigue
When combined with the acute symptoms of psychosis from marijuana abuse, this can prove to be an extremely uncomfortable process. This is why detox in a safe environment is recommended if you have been struggling with marijuana use for quite some time.
The Danger of Mental Health Disorders and Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms
Mental disorders are a serious concern for medical professionals who are studying marijuana abuse. A single incident of psychosis in the aftermath of cannabis cessation does not necessarily warrant a diagnosis of mental disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or schizoaffective disorder.
The medications used to treat these conditions can be highly effective, but they do come with the risk of side effects while treating psychotic disorders. If your psychosis is caused by smoking cannabis, you may not truly need these medications and can forgo some of the negative side effects including:
- Dry mouth
- Severe weight gain
- Tremors in the extremities
- Dizziness or double vision
- Sexual issues
This is why it is critical to put yourself under the care of a physician and treatment team with a deep understanding of marijuana use disorders. While these medications are certainly helpful and powerful when it comes to treating psychotic disorders, they may not be warranted if the real culprit is marijuana dependence.
Proven Treatment Programs for Cannabis Use
There are multiple different levels of treatment recommended for cannabis use. Here are some of the avenues offered at Catalina when you are ready to transition away from marijuana.
Medical Detox for Marijuana Use Disorder
If you have ever suffered from psychosis related to your cannabis use, you may want to consider a medical detox to get your marijuana use under control. The abrupt cessation of substance use disorders could lead to another psychotic episode that puts you and your loved ones in danger.
Even if you have never experienced a psychotic episode, it can be helpful to have the comforts of a medical detox and around-the-clock care from a team of experienced medical professionals like those found at Catalina Behavioral Health.
We can help you in the early days of going cold turkey from your cannabis consumption.
Get your marijuana use under control with medication-assisted treatment to keep you comfortable physically and receive care from a team of counselors psychologically. If you do have a psychotic episode while detoxing, we can provide you with the help and safe environment you need to see it through without giving into marijuana dependence.
Moving into Inpatient Treatment
Even if you have only a brief psychotic break, it can be a good idea to enter into substance abuse treatment for cannabis dependence. First and foremost, inpatient treatment makes it impossible for you to continue to use marijuana. It allows you the freedom to explore sobriety without risk of relapse and gives you the tools you need to manage sober living.
However, an intensive treatment program with evidence-based practices can also pinpoint psychiatric comorbidities. A brief psychotic episode may not be a sign of a psychotic disorder, but you may have other conditions like anxiety, depression, mood disorders, or possibly even recurring psychosis without marijuana in your system.
This may only surface under the careful observation of an experienced clinical team. Visiting the emergency psychiatry department might calm the storm for a night or two, but inpatient treatment is the gold standard to uncover the reason why you may struggle with substance use disorders.
Outpatient Support for Ongoing Cannabis Withdrawal Syndrome
Once you get through the first phase of your sobriety, you may be ready to transition to a lower level of care. This can help you to cope with any lingering side effects of your cannabis withdrawal including symptoms like a depressed mood.
You can meet one-on-one with a therapist trained in substance use and attend outpatient support groups like 12-step meetings. Family therapy may also be a great treatment element to implement so that your loved ones know how best to support you in recovery.
These types of therapeutic settings allow you to learn and subsequently implement core coping skills, identify triggers for substance use, and maintain accountability for your long-term sobriety. All of these treatment modalities are evidence-based practices that have been proven to help with withdrawal symptoms and long-term sobriety.
They are also less restrictive than inpatient treatment, allowing you to come and go from the treatment facility between appointments. This is the ideal way to make the transition back to work and your family members and friends. You still receive the support you need for your substance use but at a lower level of care.
Get Help for Marijuana Today at Catalina Behavioral Health
Even a brief psychosis is a major cause for concern. It can put your safety at risk as well as the safety of your family and loved ones. You may not act rationally during your psychosis and could even behave impulsively, putting you in jeopardy of acting on harmful impulses. At Catalina, we can and will help you walk through these early days without marijuana use.
Catalina Behavioral Health assists anyone struggling with marijuana use. From the first days of detox to an intensive inpatient program and eventually outpatient, we help you get cannabis use under control in a safe environment. Gain access to the resources you need to manage your cannabis use and start to live sober.
If you are ready to put substance abuse aside and embrace sobriety, our Admissions team is waiting to hear from you. Reach out to learn more about our treatment programs for cannabis use now!